What makes a happy country?
Is it money?
How much happier would you be if you were suddenly given a 10% raise?
While money can be a crucial indicator of happiness at lower income levels, the 2018 World Happiness Report found that as incomes rise, money becomes a less important part of the overall happiness equation.
Happiness obviously involves many variables outside of material wealth, including social support, freedom, and health.
The Nordic nations seem to have it all figured out- according to this year's report the top tier of happiest countries happen to be the cold, soggy, dark countries with Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland making it into the top five again.
Aside from having a common geographic location, these countries are also well-known for their social safety nets, using a high tax burden to fund government services such as education and healthcare.
In the most recent report Australia ranked #10 - down one spot from #9 last year.
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Our neighbours across the ditch in New Zealand always seem to rank higher than us. Go figure!
The United States is also going backwards, fast. It fell to 18th place from 14th in the previous report.
“The US happiness ranking is falling, in part because of the ongoing epidemics of obesity, substance abuse, and untreated depression,” said Jeffrey D. Sachs, coeditor of the report.
The unhappiest nation was Burundi whose leader, President Pierre Nkurunziza, changed his title from “eternal supreme guide” to “visionary."
The top nations, the report says, "tend to have high values for all six of the key variables that have been found to support well-being: income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity."
The happiest and least happy countries